Nelson Lakes National Park

4 minute read

Day 1

After some rest and cleaning and a long needed shave, we left Motueka and headed for Nelson Lakes national park. There are some stunning mountains here and plenty of day walks. However the weather was not the best. We set up camp at a place called Kerr Bay which is a nice place to stay. Just make sure you have lots and lots of mozzie repellent!

Initially it seemed we were cursed as when setting up the tent, I managed to seriously slice my thumb on one of the tent pegs. Ow! Luckily Fem was a good nurse and bandaged it up for me nicely. Literally about 10 mins later we were going to go into town (St Arnaud) for some food when Fem reversed the car over a flat rock in the camp grounds. This ended up wedging the car fast and we could not move, and right on cue the rain then started! No matter what we tried (including getting all the heavy items out of the car) we could not budge it off the rock.

I was just about to call the AA again (they know me well now!) when I remembered we had the car jack in the boot. So after positioning it near the rear tire we slowly raised the car off the rock, gave it a nudge and it was free! Only issue was we were on a small slope and Magnum started to roll away from us, I then grabbed onto the roof racks to try and stop it and that made no difference. Luckily Fem ran ahead and dived in the driver seat and pulled up the hand brake before we rolled into some trees! Ahh fun times!

Cold and wet!

The first night we were there was an extremely cold one, they even reported snow on the tops of the nearby mountains. In the evening the clouds cleared and we could see for ourselves the snow on the mountains. I realised quickly that while I got a good rain jacket in Motueka, I may not have anything warm enough for the cold nights. I ended up wearing several layers of clothes in the sleeping bag in the tent that night and was shivering if any part of my body was exposed. It was hard to believe that only a few days earlier we had been sun baking on a beach in Bark Bay!

After checking the weather reports, we decided to stay for two more nights in the hope that the weather for fine up for us to do an all day hike.

Day 2

On day 2, the weather was still crap, so we drove to nearby Murchison for an Agricultural show that we saw advertised. Fem has been to some similar shows before in England so she had an idea of what to expect. I had never been so it was a new experience for me. After going there and seeing what they had, Fem was not impressed at all. I thought the sheep shearing competition was pretty interesting (especially when two sheep got loose while being sheared and tried to make an escape through the crowd!) but the rest of it was not really interesting. I found it curious that it would rain as soon as we went outside in the open areas, but it would stop as we got under shelter. Weird. That afternoon we went to Lake Rotoroa and completed a small walk to a waterfall there. Wet, but got some nice shots.

Femke on the Lake Rotoroa walk

Day 3

The weather was still crap (the forecast was for FINE!) and Fem was determined to go for a walk. My feet were still a bit sore from the Abel Tasman and my toe was hurting but I thought I would make an effort. We walked for about 30 mins and Fem asked how I was going. The toe seemed to settle down and I was walking with a bit of a limp but it was not too bad, so I thought I would just keep going.

After about 2 hours the weather fined up beautifully so I was glad I came on the hike! We got to the other side of Lake Rotariti in about 4 hours. By this time my feet were hurting again, and I knew there was a water taxi, so I had foolishly assumed I would just jump on the taxi like we did at Totarunui and let Fem continue to go around the lake if she wanted. I thought 4 hours was a good effort given how sore my feet were.

Nice views on the long walk

After getting the hut, we find out that you HAVE to book the taxi FIRST, and since we didn’t that we would have to walk all the way back.

The half way mark

So after refilling my water bottle, having a deep breath we set off again back on the same path. At about the 3 hour mark (7 hours all up) my feet felt like they were on fire and my walking pace slowed. I was glad that Fem was patient and waited for me. It took us just over 4 hours to get all the way back to Kerr Bay. I was very glad that 8 hour long hike was over!

We did get some great shots on the walk though!

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